Auckland, January 11, 2020
Happy New Year! I hope you have had a peaceful and relaxing summer.
This year, 2020, marks the centenary of the Auckland Indian Association Inc (AIAI) and 100 years of the Indian community’s involvement in our city.
The Indian community plays an important role in the cultural and economic success of Auckland, and I’m looking forward to the celebrations that will mark this anniversary.
Over the summer, it was good to get down to Orere Beach to take some time off.
Sadly, even here we were not immune to the effects of the massive and unprecedented bushfires currently burning in Australia, and noticed smoke and haze in the atmosphere, as did many others across the North Island and around the country.
Facing the challenge
It underlines the importance of the task we face in preparing for climate change—a global threat that will require action at a personal, local and international level.
Addressing the challenges of climate change is one of my priorities in 2020, and my recent Annual Budget proposal recognises the need for Auckland Council to lead by example by providing funding for initiatives that will reduce council carbon emissions by almost 20%.
Other initiatives include planting 1.5 million more trees to act as carbon sinks, investing an extra $50 million to buy new land for parks and open spaces, and continuing to invest in programmes to tackle the pests, weeds and diseases that threaten our native species.
In addition, we will continue the clean-up of our beaches, harbours and streams, and keep working to improve our freshwater, stormwater, and wastewater systems—20 years ahead of the previous schedule.
Global Spotlight 2021
While this work is ongoing, we will continue the progress we have made over the past three years to build a world-class city, and prepare for the global spotlight in 2021, when Auckland will host major international events including the 36th America’s Cup, Te Matatini, APEC and more.
In the city centre, construction will ramp up over the year as we deliver a record $6 billion programme of investment that will transform central Auckland. Projects like the City Rail Link, the Quay Street enhancement, the Victoria Street cycleway, the Karangahape Road upgrade, High Street and more will help accommodate Auckland’s population growth and ensure our city develops as a vibrant, people-friendly destination.
All projects due to be completed in 2020 and 2021 are currently progressing on time and on budget, and when delivered will enable us to fulfil our role as New Zealand’s internationally competitive and inclusive city.
Events around the City
Finally, I hope you will have an opportunity to enjoy some of the fantastic events taking place across Auckland this summer, such as the Krishna Holi Festival of Colours, Auckland Council’s Music and Movies in Parks series, music and cinema at Silo Park, Sculpture in the Gardens and more. Events like these help make Auckland an exciting and interesting place to live and the council is proud to support them.
My best wishes to you and your family for a peaceful and prosperous New Year.
Phil Goff is Mayor of Auckland. He writes a regular Column in Indian Newslink.